(Olton, Warwickshire, England): 1894. An original pen-and-ink drawing for a Christmas card designed by Georgie Gaskin for Laurence W. Hodson and his family, together with two early proofs of the card. Hodson, an important collector, philanthropist, and patron of the arts, was a good friend of both William Morris and Georgie and her husband Arthur Gaskin. Dated 1894, the card is illustrated with an elaborate border of roses, reminiscent of the works of the Kelmscott Press, surrounding a nativity scene of three angels looking upon a baby in a manger. A banner beneath the scene reads, "Laurence & Mary Hodson send greeting, Yuletide MDCCCXCIV," below which is an excerpt from the Christmas carol "In Bethlehem That Noble Place." The previous year, this carol appeared in "A Book of Pictured Carols Designed by Members of the Birmingham Art School," for which Gaskin provided the cover design. Both Georgie and Arthur Gaskin studied at the Birmingham School of Art, were strong proponents of the Arts & Crafts movement, and embraced the style and ideas of William Morris. The Gaskins were also well-known for their elegant handmade jewelry; Georgie designed the jewelry, and her pieces often featured elaborate flowering vines, a characteristic that can readily be seen in the border of this Christmas card design.
Gaskin's corrections can be seen on the drawing where she reworked the border design. The two proofs show that another round of edits occurred during which Georgie changed the baby's face and excised and replaced the greeting itself. She also changed her signature and initials in the drawing from her maiden name of G.E.C. France to her married name of G.E.C. Gaskin. The back of the card is signed "Design for Xmas - Card - Georgie E. Cave France, Olton, Warwickshire, Nov. 1894." Georgie's name has been scratched out and "Mrs Arthur Gaskin" has been written beside it in another hand. Drawing pasted on thick card, which is roughly trimmed, and one proof shows some stains in the margins; otherwise, the drawing and proofs are in fine condition. (Drawing measures 7 15/16 by 5 15/16 inches; prints are on sheets measuring 12 3/4 by 10 inches, with printed areas of 7 1/4 by 5 3/8 inches). Item #27609